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"Severely overcrowded": 38 on trolleys in Mullingar Hospital

12 January 2018

Today's trolley watch figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have revealed that 30 people are awaiting a proper bed at the A&E department in Tullamore Hospital.

In a statement, the IMO said that solving the current high numbers of people on trolleys requires more beds, more consultants and more investment in Global Positioning System to allow more care for patients outside hospitals.

As the number of people waiting on trolleys and wards for a hospital bed fell below 500 on Friday, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said it was exasperated at comments by Mr Varadkar about the current overcrowding crisis.

He added: "Despite rising demand today's HSE trolleygar figures show the lowest trolley numbers for the first Tuesday in January in 3 years".

She said that Mr Varadkar's "version of stability involves a 92 per cent bed occupancy on average, 500-plus patients waiting for admission on trolleys, nearly 700,000 patients waiting for an outpatient appointment, an ever-increasing number of cancelled operations and procedures, and a general practice system which is struggling to meet demand and is near to collapse".

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The Health Minister has apologised to the hundreds of patients waiting on trolleys this week.

He said that he will be updated by each hospital group CEO on the situation tomorrow.

It said: "The shameful situation being experienced this week has its roots in years of underinvestment and cutbacks across the health service".

With Ireland now experiencing the "flu season", many emergency departments are experiencing very high numbers of patients presenting at hospital.

She said: "If you think your child has the flu next Monday, please don't bring them to school because then we will have a significant outbreak".

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Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday he is committed to opening more beds and reforming the system.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Damien McCallion said the measures included the rescheduling of some elective surgeries and increasing the access of hospital patients to home care.

"Certainly it will take a number of days for our medium sized hospitals to get themselves back into, what we would call, a more reasonable state", he said.

MUH Clinical Director Dr Kieran O'Connor said: "In this context, visiting is being restricted to the hospital in the interest of patient safety".

The record number of people on trolleys this morning comes ahead of the peak flu season which is expected to put additional pressure on services.

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"The HSE has in the last fortnight also been notified of a small number of deaths directly related to influenza (less than 10)".